Dan Wheldon: IndyCar Mourns Loss of Star Driver

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 16:  The car of Dan Wheldon of England, driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda (left), and the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara Honda of Pippa Mann fly in the air during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on October 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2011

Dan Wheldon was involved in a 15-car crash on lap 11 of the IRL event in Las Vegas. As a result of the injuries sustained in the crash, he has passed away.

The remainder of the race was cancelled, but drivers took to the track to run a five-lap salute to Wheldon. This was the last race of the IRL season.

Wheldon was the 2005 IRL series champion. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011.

Drivers on the track were visibly shaken from the moment the wreck occurred.

It was a frightening scene as the cars and wreckage piled up. Mangled and burning pieces of car were strewn about the track.

The race was immediately stopped, and Wheldon was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

The track sat in a disturbing silence as everyone there was anxiously waiting for positive news that never came.

Instead they were forced to deal with the grim fact that Dan Wheldon had passed away. Drivers were alerted before the news became public.

They could be seen hugging and consoling each other. People on the track and in the stands were visibly and understandably shaken.

The news then became public, and drivers soon climbed back in their cars for their five-lap salute. The five laps were run in almost complete silence, and you were hard pressed to find a dry eye at the track, or in viewers at home.

Dan Wheldon was 33.

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